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Android 13 QPR1 Beta 1 hints at long-awaited face unlock for the Pixel 6 Pro

Holding the Pixel 6 Pro
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • New findings in the Android 13 QPR1 beta 1 build point toward a face unlock feature on the Pixel 6 Pro.
  • Your face must be unobstructed and in clean light for the feature to work properly.
  • The latest Android 13 beta build isn't expected to reach a stable release until December with the Pixel 7 series potentially receiving it before the Pixel 6 Pro.

There appear to be details about Google's face unlock feature finally arriving on its Pixel 6 Pro device.

With Google resuming its Android 13 testing with its QPR1 beta 1 build after a short break due to the stable release, there appears to be some information regarding face unlock on its latest Pixel phones. According to 9to5Google, the latest beta build features code that explains how this feature should work, stating that face unlock "works best when there's enough light and you're not wearing a mask or dark glasses."

In addition, the beta build explains that users are prompted to hold the phone at eye level to begin the scan. Google apparently warns that face unlock is "less secure than a strong pattern, PIN, or password."

The reason for this is due to the lack of specialized hardware, relying only to the images captured by the phone's front-facing camera. This means someone can unlock your phone while you're asleep or if they look like you, such as a twin. Meanwhile, phones like the iPhone, LG G8, and the Pixel 4 featured specific hardware that provides secure face unlock. However, unlock on Android, the iPhone has consistently featured this hardware.

Further insight has shown 9to5 that the feature is being referred to as "Traffic Light" in the latest beta build.

We've been holding out for the Pixel 6 Pro to receive its face unlock feature for a while now. Early rumors that pointed toward this feature still being a possibility were found within Android 12L's source code. And we've seen several examples of the feature still in the works.

Additional information found in the latest build suggests the face unlocking feature will only begin once you've made it past the phone's always-on display to your lock screen.

We're not expecting to see this current beta build to see a stable release until December, which is when Google's next Feature Drop should be. However, this would come after the launch of the new Pixel 7 series, which could arrive with the feature already enabled. This could mean the face unlock feature may land first on the new flagship devices before slipping back a number and arriving on the Pixel 6 Pro. Unfortunately, it's not expected on the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6a.

Of course, the feature has appeared in QPR builds as far back late 2021, so there's no telling whether it will actually arrive this time around. Regardless, we'll keep our fingers crossed.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.